When the mechanic who’s determining your car’s latest problem tells you that he can repair it, but it is going to cost big bucks – you might be inclined to pay with a credit card and resign yourself to yet another financial burden. But what if you could save money on car maintenance?
You may be able to save money on costly auto repairs by committing time to research and by doing regular preventive maintenance, as well as treating your vehicle with respect. Care and consideration could save a fortune on expensive car repairs.
Here, we look at some of the things you can do to reduce your car repair bill potentially.
Ask for recommendations when it comes to choosing a mechanic
When Stranded in the middle of nowhere with smoke pouring out of your car, you might have few choices in the mechanic that works on your vehicle. However, in many cases, most of us have a choice of mechanics; it’s a matter of finding one that is reasonably priced and does a good job and someone you can trust.
Rather than go to the cheapest mechanic or the closest to home, ask around for recommendations from neighbours, friends.
When you find a good mechanic, stick with them
When you find a mechanic that ticks all the boxes – trustworthy, reliable, skilled and reasonably priced – stick with them. They will get to know your car and the history of it more than a mechanic taking a first look at it, but they will also appreciate the loyalty and the chance to build a business relationship with you.
Unlike some shady mechanics, anyone with whom you have a long history is less likely to give you a long list of needless repairs. If multiple repairs are needed, they will help you decide which ones are urgent and which ones may be able to be done later to help you budget.
Do your research first
Car mechanics are complex, and mechanics undergo a lot of ongoing training to ensure they are qualified to diagnose and repair problems. However, knowledge is power, so if you start to hear noises or lights come on the dashboard, have a look online before rushing it to the garage. Look at car-specific forums and see if you can glean an idea of what may be the issue. Of course, not everything may be accurate or true, but sometimes having an idea of the problem may aid you in finding a cost-effective solution.
Get a second opinion
If the above doesn’t apply, then get a second opinion. It is always best if you can take your car to another mechanic for diagnosis. Even if you can’t, you can call around and see if the price quoted is comparable to the average in your area. If your mechanic has a problem with you doing this, it may be because they are overcharging or not being entirely truthful about the work that needs to be done.
Look at online review sites
Before you settle on a mechanic, check online reviews on Yelp, Google reviews and social media to get an idea of how people feel about them. It is important to remember that sometimes there is the odd person with a problem or a grudge, so try to look at the reviews as a whole.
Buy your parts
Buying your car parts is not always feasible, and some mechanics will not fit parts that they have not purchased themselves. However, if you can buy the parts from a reputable dealer or online store, such as the one you will find if you click here, you may find that you can save a significant amount of cash.
For example, windshield wipers and lights don’t take it to a mechanic when it comes to the smaller parts. They will generally charge a premium for the parts and labour, whereas most people can do it themselves if they buy the parts – or ask a neighbour or friend.
Change your oil regularly
Changing your oil regularly is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your car. This is because as your engine works, metal fragments, dirt, and carbon enter the oil, causing the engine to wear out faster.
In the past, the non-synthetic oil that was always used in cars would last around 3 000 miles or so. Nowadays, most vehicles use synthetic oil, which generally lasts between 5 000 and 10 000 miles. However, it is always important to check the manual of your book to see how often the oil should be changed.
Follow the guidelines for maintenance
Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual for recommended maintenance schedules and parts replacement. If you can’t afford to fix a part at a particular time, having it on your schedule helps you to save up or set aside money for new brakes, tyres, timing belts or chains, or other parts that will inevitably wear out and end up costing you even more money.
Drive your car with respect
Riding the brake or clutch causes car parts to wear out more quickly. Tires, tyres, suspension, and steering can all be damaged by speeding over bad roads. The transmission can be damaged if you switch from reverse to drive without stopping. Running low on fuel regularly will hasten the need for a new fuel pump. Driving carefully, with plenty of fuel in the tank, changing gear, and braking smoothly always shows respect to your car and makes it last just a little bit longer.
Image by Ryan Doka